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Growing Self Awareness

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A Self Awareness site to help Men and Women deal with their Inner Patriarchs and Inner Matriarchs

Choose Where Your Real Power comes from

Understanding Power and Control

The more you understand power and control the more accurately you can identify each kind and where it comes from, the better you can use your power  to gain cooperation and make effective decisions.

Identify different kinds of Power

There are so many different things that can  help you to grow real personal power. The first thing, is to get an idea of some of the most useful skills and abilities that suit you best. The list here are skills that seem to work well for many people but the order they are listed in and the numbering are not of any significance. The selection is up to you. It should be unique and yours alone.

As you read about each skill or ability in the coming pages, think of this as your menu. You  decide what you want to order for your meal. Do not allow me or anyone else to tell you which  ones might work best for you.

You might identify some as your most wanted personal power skills or abilities that you are looking to develop, to work for you in the future. Some you may already have working for you  Each skill is one key to your personal  power.

Each time you work with a different kind of power, notice the difference

Sort real power from pretend power, personal from  impersonal and become skilled in ways of telling the difference.

The distinction between what you are doing and what you are being is not so important. Even though they are different (control is something you do and power is something you have) they work together so let’s  talk about power and control as the one skill or ability. Later on you may find that distinction useful for fine tuning your own particular mix of personal power skills.

1. Ability to make changes, make things happen, get the job done - (How, when and where I want) A very powerful skill.

Obviously this is a key source of real power and control. To be more accurate if someone has real control over a situation, whatever the job was they needed to ‘get done’ it  gets done when and where and how and by whom they wanted it done.

Your level of personal power is measured by your ability to exercise control (if you want to) in a particular situation, your potential or capacity for making changes, your skill at fixing a problem, the way you make things happen or get jobs done.

Like power stored in a battery, you and others can be aware that you ‘have’ this kind of power without your actually using it. It does mean you can take control if or when you choose to. It is only effective if you can apply it despite opposing forces or influences (such as computer breakdowns, weather or financial difficulties). If you fail to deal with these problems, your power as well as your control is reduced.

The kind of power each person has is also an important aspect of persuading, negotiating or bargaining between grown ups particularly in a partnership.

2. Ability to make some things not happen. Ability to hold on to my real power. Ability to stop being dis-empowered, to halt repeating the same patterns of self defeating behaviour, to stop becoming a victim or martyr.

Do you sometimes find yourself repeatedly being controlled by other people who seem to have more power than you? Do you give too much power away, too often? Do you find yourself repeating the same self defeating patterns again and again? (RSDP) link to RSDP page

Do your attempts to halt this seem ineffective?

Do you find yourself saying things like “There’s nothing I could about it.” “Nobody would help me” as  ‘reasons’ and in the end leaving yourself sounding as though you are a “victim?”

Are you stuck with an old belief carried over from your childhood that people outside of you have most of the power, make the rules and your personal power is just not enough to change this?

Learning to change all this is one of the most important of all the skills that you can develop as you work through this website .

Yes you can change it all. Start by questioning all those old beliefs. This ability will only come steadily as you work your way through the self-empowerment process, but right now you need to recognise that making the change is one of the essential keys to personal power. In a way it is a mirror of the first key, this time it’s your ability to make things not happen.

Apology. If none of Ability 2 applies to you then feel free to leave it off your list.

3. My career or work related expertise. My qualifications, certificates, registrations and other higher level skills

Anyone skilled in a particular work related area holds a special kind of power and it is real. You might have expertise in marketing, mathematics, public speaking, finance, writing, selling, negotiating, computing or driving a truck.  

Any skill, knowledge or expertise in short supply such as medical expertise or the ability to handle complex scientific data are examples. The power belongs to you as the expert and it is the kind of power that if you work at it you can gain, get and then keep growing.

Expert power can also be connected to more personal qualities, strength, charm, height, physical fitness, parenting or a reputation for being a valuable friend.. It can play a major part in deciding who controls what aspects of a relationship but if overused it becomes impersonal.

Once you have developed any kind of expert power it is hard to lose it, but changing technology can reduce it. If someone who has more expertise than you in your special field, walks into the room yours will be diminished temporarily.

Note: Some kinds of expert power start out as personal power but end up being  controlled by rules made by professional bodies or laws, for example medical skills. At that point the power ceases being personal and becomes impersonal.

4. Ability to give, create and exchange  personal rewards with other people, on a mutual basis, but tempered with empathy and kept in balance

Many people don’t think of this as a real power although they are using it every day, usually in a positive way. It should be high on the list because as a skill it is readily available to everyone and in multiple ways. It is a source of real and legitimate power which you can exchange openly or in private for other rewards you would like in return.  

But to work well this kind of exchange needs to be tempered with empathy and one very important condition, balance. You can so easily overdo it if you don’t reward yourself enough while you overdo rewarding others.

People who spend too much time nurturing others spend too little time self nurturing. The more this gets out of balance the more you are giving your power away. It is no longer a source of personal power. See Self Nurturing page 57.

4.1 Ability to make life better, easier or happier for people around me. As a source of personal power it needs to be authentic and there may need to be an exchange or a balance of some kind

This ability to make life easier for those around you is one of your most accessible skills. It is surprising how often people don’t recognise skills like this as a major source of personal power, even though they have been using them every day of their life.

It’s one of the most complex forms of power. Whether personal or impersonal it can prove very powerful but it is often given away with no expectation of any reward in return. To be a positive source of power for you, there needs to be an exchange where you get something in return. The exception is when you give this kind personal power away consciously and unconditionally as a gift.

4.2 Ability to make life more enjoyable for people close to me but it needs to be held in balance

Recognise your ability to bring pleasure or joy of any kind into the lives of people around you as one of your most real and honest personal abilities It’s OK to see this as a source of real personal power as long as you use it authentically. It is however conditional when you use your power in this way. That’s OK. To keep a balance there may need to be an exchange where you get something in return.

There is nothing wrong with exchanging power this way as long as it’s mutually rewarding. It is not meant automatically to be a one-way exchange. This happens in many aspects of life. Exchanging rewards at the impersonal level is what makes business and governments work. But exchanging personal power is also one of the things that make relationships work. That doesn’t mean it is totally impersonal but it needs to be balanced.

Not a bargaining tool

Recognise your ability to bring pleasure, love, or joy or success of any kind into the lives of people around you as one of your most real and powerful personal gifts. Use it but use it well. It’s OK to see this as a source of real personal power as long as you use it authentically.

However, if someone uses this same ability as a bargaining tool, to reward or not reward, they are turning it into nothing more than a way to   gain more power (or to get even). At that point, though real, it soon becomes impersonal. Giving and taking away personal pleasure, love or joy is often used to manipulate. It is still real power but no longer fair or legitimate.

Conditional Love can be as  real or pretend as any other kind. It may be presented as personal but is really reward based and impersonal. Do not debase your gift by seeking to build impersonal power using this skill as a cold bargaining tool, to reward or not reward as a way of getting what you want.

Using this kind of power can raise moral questions for some people. Yes love should be unconditional and exchanged freely but for a relationship to last there must also be conditions and balance.

This is covered in more detail in Book P-3 on power and control in personal relationships. In short, many of the mutually agreed conditions that make a relationship work need to be about how power and control are to be shared and exchanged.

It is a serious mistake to go into any new relationship, personal or commercial, without first establishing conditions for the balance or exchange of power, control and rewards.

4.3 Ability to use my personal power and skills to help with or fix problems (mine and other people’s)

Being successful at the things you are good at fixing means you are doing the things that you like doing. That will bring you joy and a sense of self empowerment.

5. Ability to measure and then work with real power, then work with other kinds of power, both personal and impersonal real and pretend

One of the most effective way to handle power is to measure the power you are up against. How much is just bluff or pretend power? How much looks like straight out manipulation? Test it. Question it. That helps you work on gaining  power, holding on to your power, not giving  power away unless you get something in return and exercising your personal rights.

6. Skill at testing and questioning pretend power and ‘old’ rules, unmasking manipulation and power pinching.

See the “Finger in the Socket test”

See “Question the Old Rules

See Manipulation   

7. Ability to say a quiet but firm “No.” or “I don’t think so.”

This is another way that  “not making things happen or not doing a job can turn out to be a positive way of holding on to your real power.

8. Ability to think for myself, to question old rules, even be a bit of a rebel.   (“Know the rules well, so you can break them effectively.” Dalai Lama XIV.)

I can try new ideas for myself. I avoid following the crowd or worrying about “.....what the neighbours will say”            

9. Embracing Options

There are almost always more than two possible ways of making a change. They are there waiting for you to notice them. Options are a significant part of your personal power toolbox. They not only add to your power, they’re also more enjoyable because they increase your sense of self empowerment and highlight the freedom you have as a grown-up to choose what you can change and how you change.

10. Ability to make good choices

Recognising multiple options helps you make sensible decisions, exercise sound judgement.  Integrate your rational thinking with creativity, imagination and empathy (in more personal ways, than impersonal).

11. Balancing opposite energies

Balancing opposite energies is a basic self empowering personal power skill. it’s essential because handling any kind of power (yours and other people’s) is always going to  be a balancing act, sometimes it includes a bit of juggling as well.

12. Experimenting and Exploring using my Imagination, Invention, My creativity, empathy,  My Insight, Intuition, My WING my curiosity.

In difficult situations I use these powers to create Win-Win solutions or consensus.

13. Ability to be the real authentic “me” as an individual with good boundaries. Ability to recognise legitimate external powers that sometimes control what I do, but not allowing them to influence on who I am or my sense of personal power.  

My most important and most powerful skills are inside me. I truly like who I am and I project that to the world in the way I walk and talk.

14. Ability to show my vulnerability in grown-up ways, admit I make mistakes and then fix them (this increases my personal power and my intimacy skills)  

All living creatures are vulnerable. At some level (from 1 to 100) we all feel vulnerable all the time.  Recognising this side of you and working with it is part of your reality. Acknowledging this with safe people is a key to increasing personal power. People who are feeling truly authentic do this. It means they are many times more powerful than people who hide or mask their vulnerability. (see vulnerabilit page)  

15. My skills at Negotiating and Bargaining to create an honest Exchange of Power

Being able to negotiate fairly and honestly is a  source of real personal power. That is as long as  you are using that skill to  bargain about exchanging one kind of benefit for another kind.

16. My self-awareness skills

My noticing and focusing skills, seeing clearly what is really going on in my life. Facing Reality even when it is difficult. Being fully aware when I am in my more grown-up EA energy states and when I am not there.

17. I can use my EA awareness to move quickly in or out of my EA zones. I am careful about what I let my PYRO team do or say. I am very careful when they tell me I “have to” do something, or give advice about what I should feel, how I should react when triggered or how I they suggest I should try to fix problems.

18. Communication skills.

Creating understanding and willing agreement (more by using personal than impersonal skills). Good listening. Using Open communication. Raising the undiscussable up to the verbal. Link to Open communication page